It’s easy to be inspired by celebrities.
But sometimes there are characters that inspire us, as well. That is when we need to remember the creators of these characters. Noddy, The Hardy Boys, Batman, Potter, and an entire plethora of them, inspire us . We associate a concept of bravery and heroism without role models. We allow them to influence us, and thereby inspire us.
Neil Simon, the Pulitzer winner created fictitious characters , who have inspired readers and theatre audiences. Simon himself is a figure of inspiration. And characters that he has created, like Arnold Epstein in Billoxi Blues, and Eugene, from the trilogy Brighton Bridge Memoirs, Billoxi Blues and Broadway Bound, all by the same playwright.
These characters of Simon, manage to use humour like a super power. A wry sense of humour for Eugene is what Prince Adam’s magic sword is for He-Man. Here Eugene does not need to battle Skeletor . His battles are more real. Very authentic. Imagine an artist who has to stay away from his paint brush but embrace a soldier’s uniform. Eugene has to fight the environment that is forced on him as he longs to be in the environment he craves for. And when he is helpless in battling the situation, Neil Simon arms his characters with humour to battle the apparent defeat.
Such humour might take the shape of sarcasm, could be in the disguise of obvious defeat or outlandish expression of intense hurt communicated in a manner that is completely void of melodrama but complete in humour.
It’s not just the characters with author backed parts but also the supporting characters in a Simon play, are equipped with humour. Subtlety, sarcasm, witty one liners, and suave eloquent monologues are the definite features of a Neil Simon play.
As a playwright, I find my inspiration in the man himself. When I hear today’s stand-up comedians who laugh heinously at their own communal biased soaked jokes and extreme misogyny, I pity the vacuum that Simon’s loss has created . Neil Simon was not just a humorist, but a dramatist par excellence who used humour, his magic wand.
About the author:
Tathagata Chowdhury, is the founder of Theatrecian. According to BBC4, this youth theatre company was declared the most proficient and prolific youth Theatre Company in the country (Wikipedia). He is a thespian certified by the Royal Shakespeare Company.